Here at Park View Veterinary Hospital, we use the MediVet technology to harvest, process and extract stem cells from your pet. Here are a few general questions and answers that we think you should find interesting. If you need more information, please don't hesitate to call us.
What is stem cell therapy?
Stem cells are the body's repair cells. They have the ability to divide and differentiate into many different types of cells based on where they are needed throughout the body. Stem cells can divide and turn into tissues such as skin, fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, and nerve to name a few. They even possess the ability to replicate into organs such as the heart, liver, intestines, pancreas, etc.
What are the different types of stem cells?
There are two basic types of stem cells; embryonic and somatic (adult). Embryonic stem cells are found in the placenta and embryo. These cells are called totipotent, which means they have the ability to reproduce into any mature cell type. While embryonic stem cells offer the greatest potential in healing, there are obviously moral and ethical concerns in harvesting these cells.
The second type of stem cell is the adult stem cell. These stem cells are called multipotent, which means they can differentiate into closely related cell lines, but they are not capable of creating a complete organ. Adult stem cells are found in the bone marrow, adipose tissue (fat), skin, liver, blood vessels, and neurons. Contrary to embryonic stem cells, there are no moral or ethical concerns in harvesting these cells, activating them, and reintroducing them back to the patient in areas where healing and regeneration is needed.
So why do we take the cells from adipose (fat) tissue?
Adult stem cells are highly concentrated in the fat tissue. There are 50 to 1,000 times more stem cells in the fat than the bone marrow. At this concentration, it is no longer necessary to culture the stem cells to acquire the necessary cell numbers to make a healing impact. The procedure to extract fat from the patient is much quicker and less invasive than a spay. The stem cells are contained within a pool of cells in the fat termed the Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF). The SVF may impart anti-inflammatory effects, add bioactive peptides, and contribute to reformation and architectural organization. These are benefits lost once stem cells are cultured.
So what can we do with the stem cells?
Adult stem cells are capable of dividing into many different cell types. With this capability, we can use them as a treatment for joint injuries, ligament and tendon damage, and fractured bones. Research and clinical trials currently support the use of stem cells in these conditions. Ongoing research is targeting other areas of the body for treatment and the preliminary results are very encouraging.
Which dogs are good candidates for Stem Cell Treatments?
- Dogs that have not responded well to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Dogs that cannot tolerate non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Dogs that are likely to need long-term medications for pain.
- Dogs that are not good candidates for orthopedic surgery due to age or health concerns.
- Dogs that have early arthritis.
- Dogs that have multiple joints afflicted with arthritis.
So what makes MediVet America's technology superior?
With their patented LED technology and by incorporating Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) - the same treatment used by many sports professionals, MediVet America is able to acquire the most living stem cells of any company currently offering this technology. If your beloved pet is going to have to endure the surgical procedure, we want to make sure they are going to get the most out of it! MediVet America also offers Cryobanking, where you can store extra cells from the procedure for future use. This is why we use this method at Park View Veterinary Hospital.
So how will the procedure work?
The day of the procedure, the veterinarian will anesthetize your pet. They will surgically remove a couple tablespoons of fat. This is a quick and simple procedure that is generally easier than performing a spay. They will then process the fat to remove the stem cells. Processing generally takes a couple of hours. After the stem cells have been collected, your pet will generally be sedated and the stem cells will be administered into the affected joints and/or into the bloodstream. It is important that you do not feed your pet the night before the procedure.
When will I see results?
There are no guarantees as each pet is different. Nationwide, 95% of procedures for osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia have shown clinical improvement. Some owners report seeing a difference in as little as a week, while others do not see and change for a month or two. If your pet is going to show improvement, we expect that it will occur within the first 90 days following treatment. Really bad arthritis may require multiple injections, so banking your extra cells is always a good idea.
Is this procedure safe?
As with any procedure that involves anesthesia, there is always a risk. However, the stem cells are coming from your pet and are being re-administered back to your pet. There is no risk of an allergic reaction. Rarely there might be a mild immune reaction in the injected joint that should subside within a day or two.